City Will Dismiss or Reduce up to 8K Marijuana Convictions

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Gascon's office said there was racial motivation behind the decision as his office noting that in 2010-11, African-Americans represented six percent of San Francisco's population but represented almost half of marijuana arrests in the city.

"Long ago we lost our ability to distinguish the risky from the nuisance, and it has broken our pocket books, the fabric of our communities, and we are no safer for it", he said in a press release.

"A past marijuana-related conviction can be a lifelong barrier to housing, employment, or recovery, depending on what you look like, how much money you have, and where you are from", ACLU Criminal Justice Director Ana Zamora said in a statement.

Laura Thomas, deputy state director for the pro-marijuana organization Drug Policy Alliance, estimated more than 100,000 people are eligible to have their records changed.


Enforcement of cannabis laws has had a disproportionate impact on black and Latino communities over the years.

The district attorney office is expected dismiss over 3,000 misdemeanor convictions going all the way back to 1975. The San Francisco District Attorney's office is to be commended for proactively rectifying this situation - one that has disproportionately burdened far too many young people and people of color.

District Attorney George Gascón confirmed this week that his office won't bother with petitions. In San Francisco, the divide is even more extreme, with people of color four times as likely to be busted for pot than white people. This is despite the fact that multiple studies have found that rates of drug use and drug sales are commensurate across racial lines. "The African American and Latino communities were the most harmed by this".

Petitions were also filed to have marijuana crimes expunged or reduced to misdemeanors in San Francisco. California residents 21 and older can legally possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana (8 grams concentrated marijuana), though it remains illegal to use while driving or possess on school grounds, according to state law. And almost 5,000 felonies would be re-examined to see if they could be thrown out.

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